Written in 61 minutes.
Port Charles Courthouse: Court Room
Jason’s mood turn another dark turn when he slid into a chair next to Sonny and Carly and saw Baldwin behind the prosecution’s table. Brenda, sitting behind them, leaned forward to touch his shoulder.
“Were you able to see her?” Sonny asked, twisting in his chair slightly. Carly, mercifully, stayed silent.
“No,” Jason muttered. “No visitors before they drove her over here.” He scrubbed a hand over his face. He hadn’t slept in two nights—not since Taggert had dragged Elizabeth out of their bedroom and put her in handcuffs.
“Sonny said Diane Miller is the best defense lawyer in the state,” Carly said. Jason frowned at her. “I mean, he’d only hire the best. This will be okay, Jase.”
Jason squinted at her. “Are you…trying to be nice?”
She wrinkled her nose. “Yes, and it hurts, so don’t start with me.”
The lawyer in question strode into the room and went to the front of the room, setting her briefcase on the table before turning to the small group behind her.
Jason lurched to his feet. “Did you see her? Is she okay?” he demanded, pitching his low so that Baldwin, despite his straining, could not hear them.
“She’s managing,” the redhead said after a long pause. “When this is over, you take that girl on a nice vacation where she can get some sleep.”
Jason started to reply, but a door opened by the judge’s bench and a bailiff led Elizabeth into the courtroom and he swore under his breath when she looked over at them, focused on him. She’d changed into prison blues, the shirt practically swimming on her. Her hair hung limply down to her neck, and her skin—always pale—was nearly translucent with thick, dark purple circles digging grooves beneath her eyes.
“Jason,” she said softly as the bailiff unlocked the shackles at her ankles.
“Why the hell is she shackled head to toe?” Diane demanded off the bailiff. “She’s not a violent criminal—uncuff my client! Now!”
“Sorry, ma’am—” the bailiff slid his eyes to Baldwin who just lifted a brow. “I got my orders. Said this one is a flight risk—”
“Flight risk—” Sonny lunged to his feet. “How the hell—”
“It’s okay,” Elizabeth said faintly. She swallowed. “It’s just for a little while, isn’t it?” Her eyes found Jason’s. “Diane said they’ll set bail, and I’ll go home—” Her voice faltered. “So I can manage.”
Jason fisted his hands at his side, but he didn’t think getting himself arrested for pummeling a district attorney would help Elizabeth’s case. He glared at the bailiff, before looking back at Diane. “Whatever you have to do—get her out of here today.”
“I’ll do my best—” Diane turned as the bailiff hooked Elizabeth’s cuffs to the table, her lips thinning with distaste.
“Girl probably weighs a hundred pounds soaking weight,” Sonny muttered as he took his seat. “And they think she’ll overpower the damn cops—”
“They’re doing it rattle Jason,” Brenda said quietly. Jason turned to the brunette. “You know it. Baldwin just wants you to feel guilty.” She looked at Scott who was deliberately not looking at them. “Don’t let him see you get upset. It’s what he wants.”
“Brenda’s right,” Carly said, “and it’s a measure of my love for you,” she told Jason who just blinked at her, “that I’m admitting that.”
The bailiff called the hearing to order and the judge stepped up to the bench to begin the hearing. Jason’s blood boiled as Scott laid out the evidence against Elizabeth — she’d been on the pier when Zander had been killed, she had motive —
“And Your Honor, Elizabeth Webber fled the jurisdiction immediately after the crime,” Scott began.
“Objection,” Diane said coolly, not even bothering to stand. She sounded nearly bored. “My client traveled to Las Vegas and returned to Port Charles within twenty-four hours. She was already in the jursidiction when the PCPD questioned her. I find your characterization of her actions outrage and spurious—”
“She went to Las Vegas in the middle of the night on a private flight that wasn’t scheduled,” Scott shot back. “And she only came back when she’d married the witness in her case—”
“I’m sorry, since when is Jason Morgan a witness to a murder he wasn’t in town for?” Diane said pleasantly. “You have the receipts. His plane took off almost twenty minutes before Zander Smith was murdered—”
Scott opened his mouth, but the judge cut him off. “Neither one of you is earning any points here,” he said dryly, drawing both their attention. “You’ve made your case, D.A. Baldwin.” He looked at Diane. “How does your client plead?”
Diane nodded to Elizabeth. “Not guilty,” Elizabeth said quietly.
“All right. The court will reflect that and we’ll bound this over for trial.” The judge picked up a pen. “What’s the position on bail?”
“Since the defendant has married a man of considerable means with property in several countries without an extradition treaty,” Scott said, “we request that bail be denied.”
“Mmmm.” The judge looked at Diane. “I imagine you oppose that?”
“We do. My client has no criminal record and has ties to the community. She’s lived here since she was a teenager—”
“Which was practically last year,” Scott muttered.
“And her grandmother still lives here. In addition, her husband has ties to Port Charles. His parents are doctors at General Hospital, and the Quartermaines are prominent citizens. My client is the opposite of a flight risk.”
The judge studied Diane for a long moment, then focused on Jason in the audience with a furrowed brow. “I find your argument, Miss Miller, to be without basis. Your client’s husband has refused all ties to the Quartermaines in the past, and Miss Webber might not have been convicted of any crimes, but I do see several arrests on her record. I am denying bail at this time—”
“That’s crap!” Carly announced at the same time Sonny sputtered out his protest, but Jason couldn’t find the words. Elizabeth didn’t look at him, but her head bowed slightly.
“Your Honor, this is without merit—”
“Your client is accused of murdering an ex-lover. She fled the jurisdiction, married a man who can get her out of the country before I finish my lunch,” the judge said dryly. “She gets no brownie points because she came back. You should have chosen your associates better, Miss Webber.” His voice hardened. “Or should I call you Mrs. Morgan?”
The judge banged the gavel as Diane was still sputtering in outrage. “Court is adjoined. Please return the defendant to lockup—”
“Wait—” Diane hissed. “Can my client have a minute with her husband—”
“So they can make plans for escape?” Scott said with a roll of his eyes.
“Oh, I am going to call my mother,” Carly told Scott. “You’re never getting her back after this—”
Scott made a face, but the judge nodded at Diane. “She can have a minute. One minute,” he added. He paused. “And bailiff, I think we can leave off the shackes. While she might be a flight risk, she’s unlikely to overpower you.”
The bailiff reluctantly uncufed Elizabeth from the table, and she stood turning to Jason. “I’ll be okay,” she told him.
“I am going to appeal,” Diane said immediately. “This is clearly retribution—”
“I’ll come as soon as they let me,” Jason promised her. “As often as they—” He took her hands in his, wincing at the way they trembled slightly. “I’m going to make this go away.”
“I know you’ll try.” Elizabeth licked her lips and looked up at him. “I guess it’s a good thing you didn’t get me a ring after all.” Her voice was nearly unaudible as she continued. “It’s not like they wouldn’t have let me keep it in here.”
He leaned down to brush his lips against hers but the bailiff jerked her back. “None of that,” he snapped. “Time to go—”
“I’ll be okay,” Elizabeth promised him. “I can handle this.”
And then she was gone, dragged through the door and back to lock up.
“How long before the appeal?’ Jason demanded of Diane. “If you file it now—”
“It might take a few days.” Diane paused. “Maybe even a week. Mr. Morgan—”
“Get it done,” Jason snapped and stormed out of the court room.
Morgan Penthouse: Living Room
Jason stripped off his suit jacket and tossed it on the sofa before turning back to glare at the trio that had followed him in. “Sonny, who do we know at the PCPD that will get us into lock up?”
“Jason,” Carly began, “she’ll be okay for a few days—”
“Carly, go home and call your mother,” Sonny told his wife and she frowned at him. “Make her yell at Baldwin. If Baldwin agrees to bail, the appeal won’t take as long.”
“It’s something you can do for me,” Jason told her, and that seemed to convince the blonde who still looked unhappy as she left. To Sonny, he said, “Get me a way into lock up. If that appeal doesn’t go through—”
“This is my fault,” Brenda said, drawing both of their attention.
“Brenda—” Jason began.
“No, if I hadn’t had that insane plan to blackmail you into marrying me, you wouldn’t have been on the plane when Elizabeth needed you,” she insisted. “You would have been here—”
“It shouldn’t have mattered,” Jason said. “And it’s not your fault.” He focused on Sonny who seemed to know what was coming. “It’s yours.”
Sonny wrinkled his nose. “Look, it’s not like I knew Zander was dead—”
“She came to you because she’d been shot at, and you didn’t handle it. You didn’t make sure the pier was clear. You lied to her, dragged her across the country — and now the PCPD is using that to keep her locked up—”
“If I hadn’t dragged her across the country, you wouldn’t be married to her right now!” Sonny retorted. “How about a little gratitude?”
Before Jason could lunge for his friend’s throat, Brenda slid in front of her ex-fiance and spread her arms wide. “You’ll only feel better for a hot minute if you pound his face in right now,” she told Jason. “You can yell at him later.”
“You dragged her across the country and you took away her guard,” Jason retorted. “Marco should have been with her. She never would have been on that pier if you’d thought about anyone other than yourself!”
“Hey, she wasn’t my girlfriend to take care of!” Sonny shot back. “You didn’t notice she didn’t have a guard for two weeks—how is that my fault?”
“Okay, so you’re going to go,” Brenda told Sonny. She opened the door and started to shove him through it. “Go get the guy at the PCPD while I keep Jason from murdering you on the spot—”
“I am sick and tired of being treated like I did something wrong,” Sonny said, shoving Brenda’s hands away from him. “You two were the insane ones, flying to Vegas to get married! I stopped it! And if I hadn’t brought Elizabeth—”
“You mean if you hadn’t lied to her about me being hurt? You used her — and why the hell do you care what Brenda and I do?” Jason demanded. “How is it any of your business? If you’d stayed here and protected Elizabeth, none of this would be happening! I’ve spent most of my life protecting your family and cleaning up your messes—”
“What the hell does that mean—”
“You refused to let me tell Elizabeth you were alive—you made me lie to her—”
“No, you were the one that lied to her. I told you to send her to the island so you—”
“You know,” Brenda said, almost conversationally as if the two men weren’t shouting at each other, “this might be the first time I’m glad you left me at the altar and you sent Jason to do it.”
That shut them both up as they stared at her. “What the hell—”
“You sent Jason to dump me, and I blamed him for a long time. But you’re just a coward, Sonny, when it really matters.” She turned to Jason. “He’s never going to admit he was wrong, so just drop it. Focus on what matters and that’s getting Elizabeth out of jail.”
She then looked back Sonny. “Get out and don’t bother coming back if you can’t be productive.”
Then Brenda shoved Sonny over the threshold and slammed the door. She exhaled in a huff. “He’ll never admit that the reason he came to Vegas to stop us was because he was jealous. He doesn’t want me, but he doesn’t want anyone else to have me.” She cleared her throat. “And he’ll never admit that he didn’t see Elizabeth as a person in that moment. He saw her as a tool to be used to get what he wanted. He knew you’d never go through with it if she was there to watch.”
Jason took a deep breath. “I already knew it was a mistake. At the altar. Before they showed up. I’m sorry, Brenda, but I was already going to stop it.”
“Good. It would have been wrong. Funny,” she added, “but wrong. And don’t let Sonny take credit. You and Elizabeth might have gotten married because you were in Vegas, but that doesn’t mean you didn’t make the decision. Maybe it was insane, but something good came out of it.”
“Good? Because of it, she’s trapped in jail—”
“No, she’s in jail because the PCPD refuse to believe you didn’t do this. You know that Scott probably thinks you’re lying about who was on which flight. He thinks you sent her ahead as an alibi for you, and then you came later. I don’t know this Zander guy, but I feel bad for anyone who cared about him. They don’t care who did this, not really.” Brenda took a deep breath. “Now, how do we get Elizabeth out of this?”
Elizabeth had hoped that anoher woman would be sent to lock-up so that she wouldn’t be alone on the cell block. There were no windows, no way to see the outside world. Just the cinder block and bars and artificial, fluorescent lighting that made her eyes hurt—
Elizabeth lay on the cot, staring at the ceiling, hoping that something would change—that Diane would perform miracles—she didn’t want Jason to think she couldn’t handle this—but she wasn’t sure if she could really get through another night without sleeping—
The lights flickered, then went turned off, plunging the area in inky darkness so thick Elizabeth couldn’t even see her own fingers.
“Hello?” she called. “The lights—”
Then she heard footsteps and the clanking of metal as her cell opened. “Please—what’s wrong with the lights—”
A hand clamped over Elizabeth’s mouth and then something pricked her arm. “What—” Her head felt whoozy—everything started to spin—
Then she remembered nothing else.
Morgan Penthouse: Living Room
“Did Diane say anything about when she expects the appeal to be heard?” Brenda asked as Jason shrugged into his leather jacket the next morning. “Will the PCPD let you see her today?”
“They better,” he muttered. He needed to look at her for longer than five minutes, to hold her hand, to touch her—to be sure she was okay. The phone on his desk rang. “Yeah? What—”
“I’m sorry, Jason, the DA and the Comissioner wouldn’t wait—they said they had a warrant—”
“Damn it,” Jason muttered. He slammed the phone down and picked it up to call Diane. “The cops are on their way up,” he told Brenda. “Probably to arrest me—”
There was a harsh knock, almost a pounding. Jason held out his phone. “Finish calling Diane,” he told Brenda, then went over to the door.
He barely had it open before Scott shoved his way in, followed by a more subdued Mac.
“Where the hell is she?” the district attorney spat out. “Where did you take her? I swear to God, Morgan, I will haunt you until the day you die—”
“What hell are you talking about?” Jason demanded as his blood began to pound in his ears. “Elizabeth’s at the PCPD—” he looked at Mac.
“When we did the count this morning,” the commissioner said, feeling slightly sick, “she was missing. Elizabeth is gone. And judging by the look on your face—” he sighed, “I’m guess she’s not on her way to Dubai.”